Chapter 1: A Curious Little Key

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 182

A Curious Little Key Vol. 1

Prologue

Beginning the Beginning

Year 704 A.D.

 

No one was really sure where exactly the prosecution was being held. The audiences, as well as the security forces, were all transported via portal, either to make sure the location would remain a secret or to create a threatening atmosphere. Before the six court justices was a single aging man in ragged robes. He was being convicted of something only the people who were transported here actually knew anything about; Magic.

To be more specific, he was being charged with saying that faith had nothing to do with magic, and was caught demonstrating. Judging from the progress of the trial so far, getting caught may have been part of his agenda.

The monk stood tall (metaphorically; he was actually only a little over five feet tall) and confident as he brought out his own accusations.

“What do you, the supposed guardians of the darkness, have to say about this history of heresy!? What pitiful excuses do you have to deny my claims!?” the monk pointed at the judges despite being surrounded by armed jailers.

The court consisted of six representatives each in a shrouded white cloak. One of them stood at attention. “Your little claims are biased and with little concrete evidence. Not only that, but speaking out loud against the lords is-“

“You’re contradicting me on bias and offense to the lords? This is coming from the men who have gone together with God, Allah, Yahweh, and who knows how many damn more! This is coming from the men who have made firestorms, earthquakes, and plagues instead of researching their magic on food and healing!”

The court’s spectators went from docile to bloodthirsty when the monk on trial held out a piece of bread, and with a flash of violet light made it into a pile of grains spilling out of his hand. Before him was court of six judges, each with a crest of their respective church’s insignia.

“You lying bastards!”

“Faith benders!”

“Give us what we need not what you want!”

The Order representatives didn’t stir a millimeter at the barrage of accusations.

The Order, or be more exact, six shadow organizations working behind each of their church’s backs in secret charged with the research, utilization, and hiding of magic, needed to show discipline. If their respective churches actually knew about this secret and powerful alliance, they would no doubt all be executed. But, luckily for them, real occult practices and magic was beyond their sects’ knowledge and moral perimeters.

Before them and surrounded by guards was a man who riled up countless cults and supporters to make a single plea.

The judge continued. “Nonetheless, you deliberately researched the arcane without jurisdiction from either church, and so, despite your so-called advances, you broke the law.”

“Law?” the monk scoffed at the six. “What law holds that I need to listen to the six organizations that don’t even exist? Why do we restrict the gifts of our worship to a bunch of bloodthirsty and power hungry inquisitors? I’ll tell you why; because you’re all a bunch of corrupt heathens that are bending the sacred texts to bend the people to your will!” he looked as if he was about to laugh at a bad joke.

Another judge stood and signaled the first one to sit back down. “There is no evidence that suggests we have done anything like that. What you’re saying is nothing but rage fueled slander to mock a power that you know you cannot disprove.”

“Oh but that’s where you’re all wrong. Where in the Bible does it say that monks and nuns must remain without spouses?” the monk turned to the crowd with a grin and his finger wagging. “Where in the teachings of Buddha does it say that monks need to learn martial arts? Where in every damn text does it say that it is right to slaughter and pillage peaceful people just because they believe different things? Nowhere does it say that you can force your petty ideals on others!”

The audience was now in a chaotic panic between hatred and support for the man.

“Petty?” another one of the justices stood from his seat from anger. The one earlier motioned him to remain seated but was ignored. “You ungrateful little heretic! If it wasn’t for these formalities you would be-“

Another sitting justice raised his hand. “Silence. No need to bind unto this man’s scheme. Remember, we represent our church’s mastery of the occult, and I doubt this angry monk has anything to back his claims besides a bunch of useless rants and baseless accusations.”

As he finished, the previous justice sat back down with evident disdain. The other one followed with evident respect for formalities.

The monk smiled to the judges and turned away from the court. He faced the crowd and opened his arms which caused the guards around him to turn their blades in his direction. Despite the peaceful demeanor, his knowledge of the occult meant that special precautions were needed to make sure he didn’t suddenly decide to make a twister to kill everyone.

“Friends, I, a single man, has created magic for food and cures for the countless plagues that have taken your loved ones. How could I, a travelling monk, have given to you all more than a few false assurances for free instead of taking your coin and stashing away the books of knowledge?” he announced.

The crowd screamed a seemingly endless list of random accusations from lies to power to greed, but the monk simply shook his head at all of them. Even the guards looked worried and some even lowered their weapons. The court whispered among them nodded to each other.

“I could do this because I am not scared of the gods not existing. I say this because I can create all of these miracles that only the churches can do, but I don’t believe any of the gods exist!”

If everyone was expecting something, it wasn’t that. The court and half of the guards were so tense that the only thing keeping them from cutting the man down on the spot was their protocols and formalities.

After confirming that there was no one rebuking him, he continued. “How can a man who denies worship perform these? It’s because magic is not divine, but a simple trade. It is a formula, a code, an art, but not a miracle from above. They are afraid that others will realize the truth and will topple their small empires of the shadows.”

Magic was the art of performing miracles. Only the secret sects under the churches could perform these miracles, yet this man who denied every faith performed magic across the world. He claimed that faith was a lie, and he himself was the greatest evidence.

“Ask yourselves, just what has magic brought to the world? Only a few can use it, yet those few have brought no change for the better. Are every church’s teachings not instructions for the talented to help the weak? Is it really okay to lie about what makes such miracles possible!?”

To help the weak and educate the powerful; words that none could speak of. The justices gave each other a few grim nods and whispers.

“No punishment could possibly be enough to make up for that heresy.”

“None.” agreed one of them.

“Indeed.” said another.

The one who ordered the previous justices to sit disagreed. “Wait, there may be one…”

The council exchanged hard looks of disapproval and stern content. One by one, they each nodded to each other. Not a word was needed for what they had in mind.

An offense to a church has always led to a punishment of near impossible cruelty.

To insult six was on a whole new level.

The six justices all stood up in unison. “Manath Valnithe, we have made our decision.”

The monk known as Manath didn’t look very concerned. In fact, his smug smile seemed be saying the words, “Punish me and you’ll only prove my point.”

“Oh really now? A crucifixion or some public spectacle perhaps?” asked Manath in a falsely concerned voice. Obviously, he didn’t consider these grim punishments to be very threatening when backed by enough occultist magicians to take over a small country.

“No, much worse and secret than that. You will have the glory of feeling the full power of your lies by binding with our most powerful treasure. Feel the weight of your sin as your body rots Manath and your souls feels the harsh justice of our creed for many days to come.” answered the justice.

Before he could object or flee, the guards seized the monk’s arms and began to drag his kicking and struggling frame away. The crowd was berserk now and the only thing keeping them from rescuing the monk was the guards’ weapons.

“No! NO! This won’t end like this! Mark my words you tyrants that this will only end when your precious churches burn to the ground!” Manath seethed as the guards dragged him out of the court and the gate slammed shut.

Part 1

October 19, 2029

How to Ruin a Perfectly Innocent Story

1

Graduation was next year, and to be honest 2029 was just a pain in general, but in January when the year finally changes, See Ya high school and Hello College! Kaine recalled about how this stupid little thought brought him into a situation that involved running like hell from a mob with his friend who probably hated him by now.

“Do you think we’ll get out of this!?” he asked.

“Hell no! Now stop talking and keep running!”

Next to him, and slowly outrunning him, was Kaine’s childhood friend, Diana. In normal circumstances, the two of them would’ve simply stood their ground and beat off whoever was either stupid or cocky enough to fight them.

Kaine, a boy with a head of short, mahogany hair which was somehow always perfectly straight despite the fact that it was never kept, had a long history of being picked on and countering with a pretty bad temper and a fist.

Diana on the other hand was about a head shorter, had long, straight black hair tied into a ponytail and was a member of their just-about-average high school’s track team. Despite different having different social classes and lifestyles, their shared short fuses and violent attitudes naturally brought them together. They were both seventeen, and basically sore losers at the bottom of society.

The fact that it was the beginning of fall, with plenty of leftover summer heat in the middle of Florida didn’t make running any easier.

“How long do they plan on chasing us anyways!? We didn’t even steal anything.” Kain managed to stutter while panting.

Behind them though, was a mob of what seemed like twenty people with half of them armed with various sports equipment and one of them had what seemed suspiciously like a miniature metal Buddha statue.

“Well I don’t feel like having Buddha beating me into Nirvana anytime soon, and just so you know if you fall behind then I’m not going to help you out.” yelled Diana who surprisingly showed no form of evident exhaustion despite the fact that she was sprinting and talking at the same time.

The reason they were being chased was because the pair decided to attempt making some extra money. Kaine was renown throughout Baldwin Florida as the best lock-pick the city had to offer, and so far his skills had allowed him to gain access to records, stashes, other peoples’ houses, and school administrative offices which so far ended up in the form of pranks, thievery, and the occasional diary theft.

 The problem was a rumor about a secret stash of illegally imported cocaine in a locked apartment that was only two miles away from duo’s apartment complex. They did get the door open, but they didn’t expect the place to be packed. Even thugs were smart enough to reason that two people who forcibly opened a locked door were thieves.

“Of the all the things you had to have thought of….it had to be a drug heist didn’t it!? Did you honestly believe you could get away with something like this with your lock picking skills!?” Diana seethed between breathes.

“Hey! You agreed to come along too you know! Plus, I did get in, and I am getting away now so shut up and don’t even think about tripping me to get away!”

Suddenly, an evil glint appeared in Diana’s eyes.

“No. NO! I know what you’re thinking you witch and don’t think that I’ll just let y-“ Kaine couldn’t finish because Diana suddenly and mercilessly kicked Kaine in the shin.

Diana happily waved goodbye as he fell to the ground. “I’m glad you volunteered to sacrifice yourself for your friend in need. I’ll remember to add a little memorial of you in my room.”

Next thing Kaine knew, he was falling face first towards the pavement and seeing Diana waving her hand in good-bye while here running feet were getting further away.

“You backstabbing little b- bph!” was all he could manage before he felt his face hit the road.

-Elsewhere. Same Time-

Inside a nearby apartment, no one saw a figure completely shrouded in black. The fact that it was the dead of night, the lights were off and the figure’s head was covered with a hood made it impossible to tell the person’s age or gender. Though the voice was that of a boy, there wasn’t anything else to actually prove it.

“Ha ha! Oh god I swear this guy’s life never fails to amaze me. Oh damn! That Buddha looking thing is going to leave one hell of a mark.” he laughed as he peered at the scene from a pair of binoculars.

It was clear from a giddy smile and the fact that the mystery person was seeing the entire event with a pair of binoculars that he was enjoying the show. But it became an annoyed pout as the figure pulled out a vibrating cell phone. With a sigh, the phone was clapped open, and immediately a two letter long text message in neat type appeared.

HURRY UP. -X

The figure then called the number and answered with the voice of a high school boy.

“You know, there is such a thing as talking and unlike you, I’m doing my job.”

The voice from the other side of the phone had a much deeper and refined tone that was completely put off by phone connection.

“If you call watching a non-stop running gag while laughing your ass off working than I’m practically creating world peace.”

The cloaked boy stared in disbelief at his cell phone. “HUH!? How’d you know what I was doing!?”

The caller, unlike his recipient, seemed calm though somewhat annoyed.

“I didn’t. You’re just too stupid and predictable to hide anything from anyone. Now hurry up and see what potential this guy has. If he turns out to be a failure, then just mug him. We’re not the only ones after whatever this guy has you know.”

“Yeah Yeah I know. But come on, at least let me prepare for one hell of an intro.”

“Just get the job done and try not to get yourself or anyone else not involved in this killed like last time.”

“Sorry, but I can’t make promises if he ends up having connections to ‘them.’”

“Just do your job.”

The boy clapped the mobile phone shut and then, for reasons unknown, tossed it out of the window.

 

2

October 20th, 2029

Gleeman High was the greatest example of a society with many layers and the dictionary definition of ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ On the outside, the school building looked like a pathetic excuse of modern building techniques with brown stained…well everything really. Concrete walls, iron benches, and a stone statue of the mascot, an eight-foot tall deer, were all smeared with a brown substance no one wanted to think about.

Ironically, the interior was a spotless, completely up-to-date high school, with red lockers lining every wall, the latest software and a nice, friendly community that occupied an insane amount of ridiculous clubs that rarely lasted a month. And beyond that was a population of unbelievably clean, well brought up, and mostly innocent high schoolers with the occasional class clown and only a single, broke drug dealer.

In other words, the motto, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” was taken to a whole new level. Basically the entire school was a giant practical joke by someone with too much free time, or a weird sense of humor.

 It was lunch break, and Kain was sitting with his arms in his face and with Diana standing over him. They both had sandwiches.

They were wearing their school’s designated uniforms; a black buttoned sweater with blue slacks for Kaine, and a black blouse over a white t-shirt with a short black skirt for Diana.

“Are you still mad about last night?” asked Diana with a child-like innocent voice.

If she was genuinely serious, Kaine clearly didn’t care.

Kaine looked up from his arms to reveal a bruised and bleeding face with a swollen cheek, a cut on his forehead, and bandage over an eye. Despite the mask of injuries, the rage was unmistakable in his expression.

As far as he was concerned his only company that he had during his entire life was his friend that he now wanted to strangle, Diana Katine, and an annoying pest who turned out to be a better friend than he had expected, Jiro Soichiro. He had no idea how or why so many kids hated their parents considering how the ridiculous amount of down sides that came with not having any.

“Do I look alright to you!? You tripped me and left me to die so you could get away while I got beaten with a bronze Buddha!”

Diana made a fake concerned face. “So it was bronze huh…”

“Don’t try to change the damn topic you witch! What kind of friend leaves her childhood friend to be slaughtered and not even look for help later anyways? If it wasn’t for Jiro then I would’ve actually died!”

“Wait, the Bumblebee seriously saved you? How the hell did he even know where we were anyways?” she highly doubted that anything as convenient as that could have happened.

“Luck. Or something of the sort.” Kaine grumbled and took a bite of his sandwich.

Jiro was the head of Gleeman’s photography club and arguably the most noticeable student in the entire school. But, due to the fact that he mostly tried to hide and take snapshots up girls’ skirts, he was the only member of the club. He was also Gleeman’s single infamous and incredibly unsuccessful pot dealer.

He was nearby handling a back-alley deal when he heard what he could have sworn was a crying kid getting mugged, only to find Kaine about to be mangled by a bent aluminum baseball bat and a Buddha statue missing an arm. His shady, but trustworthy reputation as well as the fact that Kaine’s pockets were empty allowed the hostile mob to spare Kaine’s life. Although, that happened that after about forty seconds of him being brutally bludgeoned like a piñata.

Suddenly, the pair heard a voice that made both of them want to suddenly swing a punch its general direction.

“That’s right! The brave and glorious Jiro saved the prince in peril and is still waiting for his ‘Thank you, oh-kind-and-powerful-one.” exclaimed a voice behind the table. “Oh yea and one more thing, my rescue services aren’t free you know, so you can start by kissing my feet.” said Jiro while making a pose resembling George Washington crossing the Delaware.

The fact that Jiro was the only blonde asian kid and wore only black and yellow clothes made it impossible to miss him, which also made his stalking snapshots fairly difficult to pull off. Roughly a third of the school called him “Bumblebee.” Today he wore over his uniform and black striped yellow raincoat despite the fact that there was no sign of rain any time soon. Lately he’d been living up to his nickname more successfully than everyone would’ve preferred.

To answer his request Kaine decided to do what he did best; make a threat and hope it worked.

"How about I start by not punching you in the face, not burning all of that pathetic excuse of weed that no one even buys, and by not taking your shoes and beating the crap out of you with them after I do all of that!?" Kaine waved his fist to make a point, but the other boy’s expression showed that it wasn’t being taken seriously.

“Hey, I’m not the one who broke into a drug stash and failed. I’m willing to bet that if you had a girlfriend than you wouldn’t be such a reckless moron.”

“What does that have to do with anything anyways?”

“Well, you would probably care more about us, your loving friends.” answered Diana as she bit into her own lunch.

“Bullcrap.”

“Whats bullcrap?” Jiro crossed his arms with a genuinely serious tone. “We’ve all been friends since elementary school and I managed to save your life. How is that not being a friend?”

“I meant the loving part. What kind of friend leaves another to die to run away,” Kaine said as he looked at Diana. Then he took a glance at Jiro. “And ask to lick cheap shoes after saving that abandoned friend anyways?”

Diana and Jiro pondered for a moment, and then looked at each other with looks that asked, “Do you know how anyone acts towards friends?”

“You two can’t possibly be serious about this…”

“Um yeah…about that…what exactly is your idea of a friend then anyways?” asked Diana.

It took all of Kaine’s might, dignity, and control of his conscience not to make a scene or simply break the table with his head.

“Friends support each other at all times and never abandon one another! They always pick each other up and never ask for payment for their assistance. Only monsters could be evil enough to do what happened back there to their own childhood friends!”

Diana and Jiro shared another quick glance, than looked at Kaine again.

“So you’re saying that we’re crappy friends?” asked Jiro.

“Tell me…what was your first clue?” seethed Kaine.

“I don’t know. Maybe that Buddha face indent on your arm?”

“There isn’t a-hey wait a minute what the hell? I swear that wasn’t there a minute ago!”

He looked up to see Diana half laughing and choking on her sandwich.  Jiro was now eating a suspiciously familiar sandwich that seemed to appear out of nowhere.

“Mhph. Plus the fact that you call people who care about you crap means that you’re probably even crappier than you think. By the way, this is some good bologna” Jiro talked and chewed at the same time.

“How exactly am I the- wait a second, that’s my sandwich! When did you take it anyways?”

“About thirty seconds ago, plus this is great quality. Where’d you get it anyways?”

After that Kaine simply gave up and let his head hit the table.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about…”

During the rest of school Kaine could only think about what his two friends that he wanted to mutilate were suggesting. He’d never in his entire life been in a relationship before, and the thought was nagging at his skull. To keep him occupied, he was making a list of particularly malicious things he wanted to do to those two instead of paying attention in his chemistry class. Because of that, he didn’t realize that his name was being called.

“Kaine. Kaine Noll! Stop doodling and look up!”

Kaine almost fell off his chair in surprise as he saw the face of his chemistry teacher a foot away from his.

“Now that you’re paying attention, please explain to us the heat treatment theory of metals.”

Crap. He thought.

One of his classmates, a girl with curly hair that (Kaine hoped) was dyed green and styled into two curly pigtails falling on her back via large ribbons stood up and decided to save him from the humiliation of saying something that would have permanently branded him as a complete idiot.

“It’s the theory that applying different levels of heat will chemically change the shape and chemical make-up of metals. It’s been proven quite a while ago.”

“Very good Melinda. Now perhaps Mr. Noll here will decide to pay attention from now on.”

After school was always Kaine’s favorite part of the day. Mostly due to the lack of his two s-called friends doing what they usually did.

It was late in the afternoon and on the way to Kaine's apartment. The school was located in a fairly suburban area that was accessible to about half the students via a nearby subway station that was the only clean and modern looking building located in a twenty mile radius of Gleeman High. The train connected Baldwin and its plethora of shopping districts, diverse living quarters, and the usual perks of urban society.

No one hung around Gleeman High or its estate unless it was for club activities or sports practice. Those who did though had to endure the school’s mysterious brown layer of mystery substance.

Kaine had just gotten off the train and was on his way home. Due to his lack of money to buy a car, he had to walk six miles back and forth to the station to attend school. He didn't hate it at all. In fact, it always gave him plenty of time to either think, or find some place with a door lock to break into.

He fingered his key for comfort. The reason why he liked being alone wasn’t because he hated company, but that his skills were a lie. He actually had no lock picking experience whatsoever; just the most oddly designed skeleton key on Earth.

The usual key ridges and juts of a house key were present on both sides of the key, meaning that it shouldn’t have been able to unlock, or fit into nonetheless, any lock. But for some reason, it had never failed to open any non-combination lock.

 Kaine’s tactic for pretending that he was lock picking was to fiddle with hair pins stuck unto the lock until he felt like it seemed long enough to secretly use his key. So far everyone was either desperate or stupid enough to never doubt him.

Still, the words of his so-called friends had been bugging him the entire day. When he thought about it, the idea of a relationship sounded nice but was ultimately the stupidest thing he had ever heard of.

“As if anyone would be desperate enough to even think about hooking up with me.” He muttered.

The worst part was that the more he thought about it, the clearer it became that he had absolutely no romantic relations throughout his entire life. Normally that wouldn’t have been a problem, but there was about half a year of school left before college and it finally dawned on him that he would be known as the social failure anywhere he went.

“What the hell is up with all of that crap about delinquents getting girls anyways!? AAAHH!! I swear one day those two will regret messing with my life so mu-“

He stopped his shouting, because he noticed something that immediately made him forget his personal failures in life.

No one was anywhere in sight. No shoppers, no subway passengers, and oddly enough no drivers in the stationary cars all over the road. They were all passing by and chatting seconds ago but simply disappeared.

There was only a black clad figure whistling and walking around a corner.

Crap. Remember Kaine, whatever you do, don’t get involved. Don’t even think about it. In fact, don’t even think at all just turn around and run like hell. He thought to himself.

Despite the fact that every atom of his existence was telling him to run as fast as possible away from the corner, Kaine crept forwards until he was right next to the alley. As he stood still he mentally calculated the possible outcomes of this situation.

•1. It was a huge gag that would make him the laughing stock of Baldwin and possibly the world in some kind of comedy show or pre-set and soon-to-be-online video set-up with everyone nearby participating.

•2. He was about to enter a world of supernatural phenomena that would ruin his already crappy life.

•3. He was dreaming and was about to wake up with a written statement written on his face in permanent ink.

•4. He was going delusional because Jiro secretly put something in his lunch.

After realizing that it was most likely the fourth option, Kaine sighed and assessed the possibility of any of those four actually happening.

There was no way so many people could disappear at once and holographic projectors to make a prank like this are just too expensive to waste on him. Not only that but no one would just leave cars like this behind and there weren’t even any sounds of distant city behavior so option #1 was out.

Option #2 was just plain stupid and he was pretty sure that option #3 needed him to be asleep which by the fact that a flying plastic bag slapped his arm, wasn’t happening.

So it was probably the fourth option Kaine thought as he muttered a few vows about some pretty nasty things he was going to do to Jiro later, and mustered to courage to peek into the alley.

He immediately knew that this wasn’t an illusion or prank.

First of all, the he never saw the clothes before and it was way too detailed to be a product of a dream.

The figure was wearing a black hooded long coat lined with red along with brass buttons lined up to hide the clothes underneath. The coat tails reached his feet and were made to seem jagged instead of normally flat, yet gave a sense of elegance and bad taste. The sleeves were too large for any practical purposes besides covering the hands. It seemed a lot like a ridiculously fancy cloak, or an incredibly stylish vampire tailcoat design.

None of that actually seemed to matter considering the person’s abnormal demeanor.

The black clad figure was simply standing there, facing Kaine and giving a wide grin while waving his or her hand side to side. The only thing that Kaine could tell about whomever this was that, he or she was about his age and extremely pale judging by the fact that he could only see the enigma’s mouth. Then he realized something that seriously made him wish that this whole thing was a reality T.V. gag.

The person was waving and pointing behind Kaine like some sort of giddy kid, and as soon as Kaine turned to run, he immediately regretted it.

About a dozen feet away from him was what seemed to be a pair of red spheres attached to a shapeless lump of something that oddly resembled black gelatin. Except as he thought that it was forming arms and the spheres had lined up to create what resembled a bird-like face.

It took about four seconds for Kaine to realize that option number two, despite the fact that it was as likely as seeing a flaming bear on a unicycle juggling computer screens while simultaneously jump roping, was unfortunately happening.

Then he heard the voice of what sounded like a high school boy behind him.

“Good luck! Oh and by the way, you have about twenty seconds until that Shade decides what form it wants to kill you with ha ha! Hope you figure what’s so special about you before you die.”

Kaine turned around and the black clad figure was gone.

He turned again and saw that the black gelatin monster now had oozing clumps slowly extending from its base and dripping whatever it was made of unto the sidewalk. The drops slithered back into the grotesque mass and the red spheres began to shrink and form eyes.

“YOU. CAN’T. BE. SERIOUS!!” Kaine screamed at the top of his lungs as he made a turn and sprinted for his life.

Although he knew that the probability of his situation was somewhere between impossible and just plain stupid, he also knew that the thing chasing him would turn his body into something no horror movie could dream of recreating. He heard a screech, but didn’t turn because he didn’t want to know what it looked like now.

“CRAPCRAPCRAPCRAP! Where the hell are you little bastard I’ll kill you!”

Kaine heard laugher and figured out that that wasn’t going to happen.

The boy somehow made it to the roof of an apartment complex in a matter of seconds and was laughing as if he was watching some kind of messed up animal blood sport. He cupped his hands and yelled while evidently trying not to laugh.

“Good luck with that! If you can’t even beat that small fry then you don’t stand a chance against me.”

Kaine risked a quick look behind him and saw a creature that would’ve been the awe of any monster movie designer.

The creature now hobbled like someone crab walking. In the place of arms were several long tube-like extensions of it forming spines at the tips. A pair of hands protruded from its back made it look like a second body was melted into the terrible form and was crawling as it hobbled. It now had a head with blood red, unblinking eyes with mandibles that were forming into a beak.

Kaine assessed his situation and failed to find any good news.

He had a wallet with some spare change and eight dollars, a half empty pack of gum, and the list of various sadistic things he wanted to do to Jiro and Diana that he made during sixth period. In his hands were a ring on each middle finger and his attached mystery key.

He was about to swear but didn’t get the chance to because before he knew it four of the spiked tendrils stretched and hit to ground in front of him and the withdrew towards him. The force of the action and his natural instincts caused him to fall flat on his back.

“GAH!! Why did have to end like this!? Just give a break!”

“Eh, sorry. Not happening man. I have a job to do and right now you just have to show me what you can do.”

“What the fuck do you think I can even do anyw- AAH!”

The beast was now hovering over him, but it seemed to be impatiently waiting for permission to turn Kaine’s organs into a nasty stain on the pavement. Its beak was inches away from his face, causing Kaine’s life to flash before his eyes only for him to discover for the millionth time that his life completely and utterly sucked.

The black clad boy was now sitting on the curb with a disappointed frown. Kaine wondered for a second if the guy could teleport since the chase lasted for a total of two minutes. So far the boy went from an alley to a roof to the pavement without making a sound so the theory was a lot more sensible than he would have thought possible.

“Well that was boring. I thought some crazy power or something would awaken like in a manga and you’d become some kind of a badass

Kaine couldn’t help but retaliate at the sheer ridiculousness of that remark.

“This is reality!! Not only that but why are you even trying to kill me anyways!? As far as I’m concerned God is giving me the finger and laughing his ass off by making some psychopath like you and that ugly freak show of a pet kill me!”

The cloaked boy seemed to take note of the God remark then simply shrugged.

“And not only that but why can’t you just let me go and TALK instead of doing all of this crap anyways!?”

“Nice thinking there, but, it looks like that key was the main source of the magic signature after all, so I guess I’ll be taking that little trinket and feed you to my friend here. I don’t think he liked the fact that you called him an ugly freak show.”

The monster seemed to growl in agreement and Kaine regretted making that remark.

Well, this is the end. Kaine thought. I’m going to be mutilated by some kind of hellish product of the fusion of too many monster movies and a team of demented Picasso-styled artists and my only valuable items are going to be torn off my fingers by some mentally insane Goth wannabe.

To be honest a more ridiculous ending probably wasn’t possible. Or at least it probably wasn’t.

Then he thought. But that doesn’t mean I’ll just sit here and do nothing.

In a last desperate attempt at least not die without putting an effort, although lacking strength but containing a lot of conviction, Kaine swung his fist at the monster’s malformed head, which instantly snapped back and caused the fist to completely miss. But oddly enough, it drew its body back completely and screeched.

“The hell…?” Both Kaine and the black clad boy both exclaimed.

The creature buckled back in pain and three of the tentacles on its left arm came clean off and melted unto the pavement.

Kaine looked around to see if some kind of flashy hero came to help him, but only saw the cloaked boy, who apparently looked just as confused as he was.

Then he felt the weight on his right middle finger and saw an empty sword hilt in the place of his key. Due to the huge pileup of abnormal things that have been happening lately, he decided not to think about what just happened. He had no idea how or why it was there, but he knew that now he had yet another strange thing happening to him.

Of the countless things that have been happening to him lately, this was so far the closest thing he had to good news, and he was not going to let it go to waste mostly since he was aware of the fact that he wasn’t going to get anything else to help him.

That gave him a smile for the first time that entire day.

“Well,” he said with renewed confidence, “It looks like that retarded wish of your is about to come true Mr. Manga Freak.”

But one look at his maniacal spectator drained away most of his newfound hope.

The cloaked boy was now smiling in a maniacal glee as if he was a child that was about to open a giant pile of Christmas presents although Kaine was fairly positive that he wasn’t wrapped in colorful paper and tied with a ribbon. Clearly his spectator was trying not to laugh in whatever sick form of bliss he was experiencing. He also didn’t want to think about what any normally sane could be thinking to make a face like that.

“Now this is more like it! This’ll be a hell lot more interesting than all of those other nobodies! All of them combined weren’t even half as cool as this.”

Kaine tightened the grip on the hilt at those words.

“So you’ve done this before then?”

“Not exactly, but usually I’m fighting enemies to kill, not play with.”

With those words, Kaine angled his new hilt at the mystery person’s deformed partner and braced himself for a battle he could have never even imagined possible.

 

3

One perk about having a sword hilt that defied logic and could cut things as if it had a blade was that the enemy couldn’t see where the cut was coming from. The down side is, neither could Kaine since he had absolutely no idea how long the invisible blade was or how it was even designed.

Not only that but he was a brawler, and had no experience fighting with any kind of weaponry besides a baseball bat he used to hit someone who was picking on him in the eighth grade. And most of that experience came from hitting a piñata back in elementary school.

His gruesome opponent was now keeping its distance and used was scaling the apartment building its cloaked master was on earlier. The master apparently did whatever his teleporting trick was again and was now sitting on a nearby café ceiling with an expecting grin on his face.

Kaine wanted to carve that grin right off of him.

“What’s the matter? Too scared to fight now that I’m armed?”

He realized his mistake too soon.

It was plain stupid to do something as petty as taunting while facing away from an opponent. While he turned his head to make that taunt, the creature tackled into him and raised its remaining protrusions to strike his head. His arm moved automatically to use the invisible blade to block the attack. He was pushed back several feet, but then his arm suddenly arched forwards and cut off the fingers on one of the beast’s back-arms.

“Haha! Now this is what I call entertainment. If only I had some popcorn, I could really use a snack to go with this.” The cloaked boy said while laughing.

Kaine tried his best to ignore the cloaked boy’s twisted sense of priorities and focused again on the creature.

To retaliate, it stretched the five of its remaining tentacle-like protrusions and began to madly barrage Kaine.

Instead of becoming mincemeat with clothing scraps, he was dragged by the arms away from every strike at impossible speeds.

It shouldn’t have been possible. But it was and it was making him sick and dizzy.

“Ack! What the hell is going o- Urfg.”

By the time his eyes adjusted to the new battlefield changes, he was face to face with the monster.

His arms automatically swung at the creature’s head, but it had its own instincts and managed to turn its body so that Kaine ended up chopping off another arm.

Kaine had no idea how he did that. He felt as if whoever was puppeteering his life had finally decided not to make him a walking punching bag. But, he also noticed that this happened only after he obtained the empty looking hilt.

He was now aware that the mystery weapon he had appeared to be backing him up. It was now officially a two against one fight.

Or at least so it seemed for about ten seconds.

Kaine’s body moved as if someone picked him and up and threw him to the side like a crumpled candy wrapper as he watched the place he was standing milliseconds before explode into a crater.

Looking at the café, he saw the cloaked boy now sitting inside the café although now the window was shattered and he seemed to have commandeered a café seat. Except instead of the usual sitting and watching, he was now holding what looked like a silver pistol while sitting and watching.

The reason Kaine knew that it didn’t shoot bullets was because common sense decreed that no type of bullet in the face of existence could blow a dinner plate sized crater into a concrete sidewalk.

“Well damn. I’m not sure what that catalyst is but now I see I found the jackpot. The only known weapons that directly assist the wielder in combat are the seven Armaments of Sin so I’ll be famous once I turn this treasure in.”

Although Kaine didn’t have a clue what the guy was babbling about, he could clearly see that his conviction to beat this guy was just an illusion of the moment. Not only that, but the guy’s pet was now appearing to be reforming its body into something that will no doubt be more practical for the fight.

The creature’s metamorphosis and its owner’s newfound cocky gloating gave him the perfect chance to escape. Kaine looked around the café to find that there was an alley to the left.

“Sorry to burst your ego, but you’re not going to win this fight or take this thing from me one way or another.”

Kaine dashed for the alley right next to the café knowing that his entire plan depended on how quick his opponent's aim and reaction speed were. As he sprinted for the small opening, he could hear the road and various buildings behind him were being decimated. He ignored the brick and gravel shards cutting his back and leapt into his only hope for cover.

It's said that some people possess incredible senses and can in turn instinctively dodge any harm. Apparently the instincts were some form of primal gracefulness that allowed even the meekest of humans to survive even the most dangerous situations.

That didn't apply to Kaine in any way. Instead he was tossed around like a rag doll by the invisible force assisting him to successfully dodge, fall, and fly away from the destructive ammo.

Unfortunately, his assistant didn't seem to see gravel, walls, and road signs as dangerous objects to dodge and as a result Kaine tended to be thrown at them a lot to dodge the impossibly powerful shots. In exchange for not having chunks of him blown up, he received various bruises and cuts in places that he would probably never mention.

Fortunately though, it also allowed him to reach his destination without any fatal injuries. He now had an entire wall blocking his opponent’s aim and his second foe was busy remodeling itself. Things couldn’t have been any more perfect for his getaway.

YEEEEESS! Thank you God for bailing me out in the one moment you decide to help me! He thought.

As he madly dashed for the next street the wall next to him started blowing apart like a mass of building blocks being smashed at random places. He felt the strange force pushing him away from falling debris.

It felt like he was being swung around like some sort of toddler’s toy, but really Kaine couldn’t care less as long as he lived.

He turned to see the situation only to find the cloaked gunman in the middle of the alley taking aim.

He had simply blown up the entire café’s wall just to get a clear shot.

He was also living proof that one didn’t need to chase an opponent if he could simply blow away all of the obstacles.

“Ha! I have to admit you’re pretty good for a rookie, but this is where it all e-“

Suddenly, as Kaine sprinted and burst through the alley, he was surrounded by people again.

He looked back at the alley in fear of his crazy enemy shooting at the crowd only to find that the street he was on looked completely normal and had plenty of people passing by and doing their normal thing. He could have sworn that no one anywhere within a mile radius a second ago.

Even the other side of the alley where the gun man was standing in now had people walking by and cars strolling to work. There wasn’t even any damage to the café let alone the road and other places that the gun managed to destroy.

It was as if the entire battle had never ensued.

“What the hell is going on?” he said out loud as he looked at his hand only to find his strange key once again, except glowing faintly. After an hour of frantic running and discovering that his key could still open locks, Kaine was in his apartment.

There wasn’t anything unique about the place; it had a single room that acted as his bedroom and living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. The only piece of notable technology was a computer on a desk next to Kaine’s bed. Kaine, out of habit, took off his rings and key and put them into a small steel box next to his bed. He was still paranoid from his eerie encounter and his key’s weak glow kept reminding him of the incident.

“Oh forget it, whatever it is it doesn’t seem like it’s going to come back and kill you anyways.”

He then collapsed on his bed from both physical and mental exhaustion. Something on the back of his mind told him that whatever was out there is probably going to ignore his hopes and attack again someday.

“Why did have to be option number two of all things…?”

He was too tired to notice that his rings were now glowing with the key.

Elsewhere, same time

Meanwhile in the café that previously acted as part of the recent battle, there was a boy who was old enough to be in high school sitting on one of the chairs and sipping a cup of coffee. He was an incredibly pale kid and his hair was heavily gelled back to make him seem like the kind of person


Submitted: October 18, 2013

© Copyright 2022 jjkimbros. All rights reserved.

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